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What are the risk factors?

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Why are women of Mexican descent at high risk for breast cancer?

How do traditional values and beliefs affect their use of prevention screening for breast cancer?

Why do so many women feel uncomfortable performing the BSE or having a medical checkup?

Why do so many women feel healthy?


In 2003, the second leading cause of death for Latina females was breast cancer, causing 11,399 deaths (Table 31).

Women of Mexican descent have an ¡°absence of a usual source of health care¡± (Garbers CR 629).

By having a lack of access to health care and a regular physician women of Mexican descent aren¡¯t receiving the necessary preventive measures against breast cancer, such as a mammogram. They also aren't learning educational information to prevent breast cancer because ¡°physician and other health professional interventions are strong predictors of breast cancer screening among women¡± (Borrayo 600).

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From 1987-1992, Latina women were found to have had ¡°the lowest use of Pap smear screening of all race and ethnic groups in the United States¡± (Molina 222).

The rates of use of mammogram by Latina women age 40 and older in 1998 was only 52% while it was 61% in Anglos and 64% in African Americans (Molina 223).

In 2003, 34.7% of Latinos were uninsured and of that 34.7%, 37.8% were Mexican (Figure 7). Latino rate of uninsured is significantly higher than other groups; whites have 11.9%, Asians 18.2%, and African Americans 18.1%.

Women who don¡¯t have a regular source of care or health insurance and are recent immigrants to the US are not ¡°easily reached by conventional health education channels¡± placing them at ¡°increased risk of not having a recent mammogram¡± (Garbers CR 633).

Having a lack of normal care may explain why the rates of mammogram and Pap smear screening are so low for Latinas. Health care professional interventions are key to educating women about breast cancer and preventive measures for it.

Women who have been taught the breast self exam by a health care professional are more likely to practice it on a regular basis (Borrayo 600). However, lower rates of health care professional intervention are related to ¡°lower rates of all cancer screening in women and men¡± of Mexican descent (Borrayo 600).




Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Jennifer Pieters in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2006.